Paul Weston (In Treatment)
|Dr. Paul Weston|
|First appearance||"Laura: Week One"|
|Created by||Hagai Levi|
|Portrayed by||Gabriel Byrne|
|Occupation||Psychologist and psychotherapist|
Father, John Paul Weston (deceased)
Brother, Patrick Weston
Dr. Paul Weston is a fictional character on the five-nights-a-week HBO series, In Treatment. The character is portrayed by Gabriel Byrne, who was coined as TV's "latest Dr. McDreamy" by the New York Times for the role. According to Byrne, the character of Weston has flaws, but possesses certain virtues:
”I tend to think of him as an innately compassionate man, but a damaged man. But just because you’re damaged doesn’t mean you can’t be compassionate...I think what makes him a good therapist with all his patients, and sets him on the right road, whether he says the right thing or the wrong thing—he truly listens. He may not have the answer, but he’s paid the person the compliment of listening to them.”
Growing up, Paul did not have a happy childhood. His father, who was a cardiac surgeon, left the family for a patient 26 years his junior when Paul was young. He was then left to take care of his depressed mother, playing the parental role in the broken family. Whilst at high school, Paul often got into trouble with the authorities, and when asked by counsellors about his aspirations for the future, he replied that he wanted to be anything but his father. Paul and his stepmother were often mistaken as either siblings or a pair of newlyweds whenever he joined his father's new family on special occasions as a young man. His decision to marry Kate in his late 20s was due to his admiration for her strength, something he did not see in his own mother in the aftermath of his parents' separation.
A little more of Paul's background is revealed in Season 2. We learn he has an older brother (Patrick) and that his father obtained his doctorate from the fictional "Dublin School of Medicine", which confirms that Paul's family is from Ireland and perhaps explains Weston's Dublin accent. (Paul places his father's doctorate on a shelf in his Brooklyn office in episode 21 of season 2 Mia: Week 5).
At the time of the first episode of the show, professionally, Paul is a successful psychotherapist who appears to be the breadwinner of the family. His achievements have not only brought him to a respectable place professionally, but also to a secure financial position, allowing his family and himself to live comfortably. Paul has exceptional listening abilities that aid him in his work, but lately, he feels as if he has been "losing patience with [his] patients."
At home, problems are apparent between his wife (Kate) and himself. Paul is most comfortable in his office, creating distance between himself and Kate and the children.
As the show begins, Paul is in his early 50s. Little is currently known about Paul's professional background or training, except that he obtained his BA and MS from Columbia and his PhD from The New School. However, in episode 27 season one, a Ph.D degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania is visible in his office. (Post-doctoral psychoanalytic training received at The New School in NYC) He also worked for a time at the fictional Baltimore Institute of Psychology under the tutelage of his mentor, Dr. Gina Toll.
Paul left the professional supervision of Gina nine years earlier after a large argument over reservations expressed by Gina in a letter of recommendation on Paul's behalf, among other issues. Since then, he has been conducting his practice from a home office, to the objections of his wife. Kate is frustrated by the fact that Paul always seems to be so "energetic" and "alive" in the office, but acts like an "anemic old man" outside of it. His suspicion that Kate is conducting an extramarital affair is confirmed when his wife tells him of it during a heated argument.
Furthermore, an extra tension is added when Laura, a 30-year-old patient, reveals her romantic feelings for Paul (addressed as "erotic transference") during one of their sessions together on Mondays. Realization of his own love for Laura slowly dawns on Paul when he begins to visit Gina for guidance on his problems both at home and work. In the end, Paul confesses to Laura his love for her at her home in the finale episode of Season 1, but a panic attack after receiving a call from his daughter, Rosie, stops him from consummating the relationship. Later, when a distraught Paul stops by Gina's house to tell her what happened, Gina concludes that Laura's decision to reject him after his anxiety attack means that through therapy, Paul has successfully made her realise that her attraction to him was merely a case of erotic transference. However, Paul appears to have been genuinely in love with her and was upset, saying that Laura may have been "the last love of my life, and I let her go."
When one of his Tuesday patients, a fighter pilot named Alex, dies in a flight, Paul cannot help but feel responsible for Alex's death. His confidence increasingly diminishes as he starts to doubt psychotherapy and himself.
- The New York Times - 'He Listens. He Cares. He Isn't Real.'
- http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2009/04/in-treatment-gabriel-byrne-hbo.html Chicago Tribune - 'Talking about the addictive In Treatment with Gabriel Byrne'
- Weston's degree is visible at the 27 minute mark of episode 27.